During each patient’s laboratory work-up, oncology specialists rely on findings related to the tumor’s estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor status, as well as the amplification and overexpression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), to direct treatment planning.2,3
Depending on the patient’s needs, the clinical pharmacist may also work with other staff members, such as financial counselors or social workers, to optimize patient care. Similarly, clinical pharmacists confer with specialty pharmacists to ensure that insurance issues are resolved so that the patient receives timely access to treatment.
It is exciting to see that patients with advanced breast cancer are able to receive additional treatment options, because a primary concern of patients with stage IV breast cancer is a lack of awareness of laboratory and clinical research targeted for those battling advanced disease.
Outside of initial clinical trials, few tools are available to assess the real-world impact of breast cancer on patients. In a research letter published in February 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the authors compared the impact of several new cancer drugs on progression-free survival (PFS) with their impact on the patient’s quality of life and annual cost.3